If you enjoy your morning cuppa like most of us, you may be wondering if there’s a way to put those coffee grounds to good use instead of tossing them in the trash. The answer: yup! Here are 8 surprisingly painless ways to reuse coffee grounds.

Fertilize your greens

Turns out, even plants like a little caffeine buzz. Sprinkle coffee grounds to add valuable nutrients to your soil, such as nitrogen, magnesium, and potassium. They’re especially beneficial to acid-loving plants like hydrangeas and roses.

Make compost

You don’t even have to use them immediately — coffee grounds can be added to your kitchen waste compost for later use in your garden. Bonus: if you use unbleached coffee filters, you can toss them right into the bin with the grounds!

Keep the pests away

Coffee grounds can make pests bug off. Keep mosquitoes and fruit flies at bay by putting bowls of used coffee grounds around the house or near your dining areas. 

Absorb odors

Yes, we love the smell of coffee, but it’s not just the bracing aroma that can help keep your house smelling fantastic. Just like baking soda, coffee grounds can absorb funky odors in your fridge, freezer, and car — not to mention your gym bag and shoes. Make a DIY air freshener by encasing the grounds in a clean sock and tying the top.

Exfoliate your skin

Caffeine and antioxidants are all the buzz in today’s boutique beauty products. Mix two tablespoons of used coffee grounds with an equal amount of organic cocoa powder. Add 3 tablespoons of whole milk and a heaping tablespoon of honey. And voila — energized skin and a nice glow to boot. Plus, this concoction smells gooood. 

Tenderize meat

Cheaper cuts of meat often need a little help to become flavorful, and the acidic properties of coffee grounds make for a great dry-rub recipe. About 2 hours before grilling or frying, add the used coffee grounds to the meat. The grounds will create a yummy, crispy crust. 

Cover scratches on furniture

Scratches on wooden furniture can be buffed out with a paste of coffee grounds and water: just rub it into the scratch with a cotton swab, let sit and then wipe up. The abrasive properties help buff out the scratch, and the dark color makes the scratched part blend better.

Make a treasure map

Sorry, we couldn’t resist: soak some used coffee grounds in water and pour them over a crunched-up paper, then let your little pirates find out what spot that X is marking.

One cautionary note: never put coffee grounds in your garbage disposal, as it can clog your drain.

DIY hacks | Home and garden


about Cathie

Cathie Ericson writes about personal finance, real estate, health, lifestyle, and business topics. When she's not writing she loves to read, hike, and run. Find her @CathieEricson.